Visit two of Northumberland's observatories to witness planets, star clusters and galaxies and hear talks from an expert local astronomer

Northumberland's rural landscapes are a beautiful mosaic of heather-covered moors, undulating hills, and ancient meadowland. This idyllic county also has extremely low levels of light pollution, resulting in the darkest skies in England and making it one of the top places in the country to stargaze.

On our trip, you'll see the stars of Northumberland accompanied by an expert astronomer, Richard Darn, who'll tell you all about the jaw-dropping sights you'll see in the Northumberland Dark Sky Park.

Richard will join you on trips to two observatories, where you'll get access to telescopes and binoculars and also wander outside under the dazzling skies to see the Milky Way with the naked eye.

You'll stay at Battlesteads Hotel, a cosy pub hotel with individually decorated bedrooms and a restaurant which makes the most of the fine livestock, game, fish, poultry, fruit, and vegetables available in Northumberland. It has a strong sustainability focus and holds a Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme. Its eco-friendly initiatives include a carbon-neutral heating and hot water system, extensive gardens providing fresh fruit and vegetables for the kitchen, locally sourced toiletries and wormeries that convert food waste into compost.

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Your expert guide

Richard Darn
Richard is an expert astronomer who helped Northumberland become England's first International Dark Sky Park in 2013 having previously assisted in the launch of Kielder Observatory five years earlier.

With numerous TV and radio appearances to his credit, Richard remains a stargazer at heart who loves to share his passion for the heavens.

Price includes

  • Two nights at Battlesteads Hotel with breakfast
  • Dinner on the first night
  • Private visits to Battlestead and Kielder Observatories with astronomer Richard Darn
  • Entrance to Hadrian's Wall information site
  • Private visit to First and Last Brewery
  • Company of an expert tour guide throughout

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  1. Day
    Battlesteads Observatory
    Wark, United Kingdom

    Today you'll arrive in Wark On Tyne, where your stargazing adventure begins. You'll meet the rest of the group at the Battlesteads Hotel, a welcoming pub hotel that will be your base as you explore Northumberland.

    You'll have dinner at the hotel tonight with your guide and expert astronomer Richard Darn. Before your first starry encounter this evening, there'll be a quick introduction talk about the local area.

    After dinner, you'll head to the Battlesteads Observatory for a private visit. You'll have access to much of the observatory's equipment, including three telescopes, so you can see the detail of the spectacular sights above you. There will be a workshop and a talk, so you can learn more about astronomy in Northumberland.

    Meals - Dinner
  2. Day
    Kielder Observatory
    Hexham, United Kingdom

    After breakfast, meet your guide, coach and driver for a tour of the surrounding area. You'll first visit Hadrian's Wall, the largest Roman archaeological feature in Britain. You'll then visit Hexham, a market town on the banks of the River Tyne with a bloody history of marauding Vikings, and England's first purpose-built prison, Hexham Old Gaol.

    After some free time for lunch (not included) you'll enjoy a private tour of The First and Last Brewery, an award-winning, family-run microbrewery whose cask-conditioned beers are said to be inspired by the wild landscapes and starry skies of Northumberland.

    You'll return to the hotel for dinner (not included) before travelling to the Kielder Observatory with Richard. The visit will include a full tour of the facility and the equipment and explanations of how the telescopes and robotic mounts work. Most importantly, there'll be plenty of opportunity for stargazing, using the large telescopes for objects like the planets, star clusters, the moon and step outside to view with the naked eye, looking at constellations, satellites and the Milky Way.

    Meals - Breakfast
  3. Day
    Wark, United Kingdom

    You'll have breakfast at the hotel before checking out as your trip comes to an end.

    Meals - Breakfast

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